The deal specifically looks to combine selected DuPont strains with MRM’s technology to develop new therapeutics based on live bacterial strain combinations.
“We are thrilled to partner with MRM Health to jointly develop the next generation of microbiome products,” says Sebastien Guery, human microbiome venture leader at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.
“Combining MRM Health’s unique technology platform with DuPont knowledge and experience provides a unique opportunity to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapeutic products in areas such as metabolic health.”
The news follows similar collaborations involving DuPont with agreements struck with UK start-up BioMe Oxford to develop a smart swallowable capsule that offers access to 'unchartered territories' in the gut microbiota.
DuPont’s very own Microbiome Venture - a mix of probiotics and prebiotic-related partnerships and investments, counts the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork, Ireland and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research’s (INRA) as members.
IBD research & development
MRM Health, a Belgium biopharmaceutical firm, was incorporated early 2020 by MRM Technologies, a microbiome research centre based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, in a joint venture with the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB).
The firm are currently working on MH002, a drug candidate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). The drug is an optimised consortium of bacteria, consisting of six well-characterised commensal strains.
“We are excited to enter into a partnership with DuPont for the discovery and development of innovative therapies for metabolic diseases,” comments Sam Possemiers, CEO and co-founder of MRM Health.
“We believe their extensive capabilities in the microbiome field together with our expertise and proprietary technology platform for developing gut microbiome-based therapeutics are a great combination in the quest to deliver a novel class of natural and efficacious solutions for millions of patients worldwide.”
MRM investment round
MRM Health also announces the completion of a funding round that has raised €14m to advance its clinical and preclinical development programs in microbiome-based therapeutics.
In the first external investment round, which involved DuPont, Ackermans & van Haaren, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB, the investment will provide additional financing to advance MH002 as well as its ongoing programs to address Spondyloarthritis and other indications.
Jeroen Raes, associate professor and VIB group leader at the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Leuven, Belgium said, “I’m very excited by the impressive MRM Health expertise in microbiome product development.
“Our know-how in microbiome analysis, gut microbiology and ecology perfectly matches their platform to develop and deliver novel treatments for a wide range of indications.”
Jens Van Nieuwenborgh and Piet Bevernage from Ackermans & van Haaren, commented on MRM Health’s ‘unique technology platform,’ that has already delivered on a promising lead portfolio and has now entered into a key collaboration with DuPont.
“Based on extensive expertise in the gut microbiome, a clear strategy and a strong partnership with VIB, we believe MRM Health is well positioned to discover and develop novel treatments for diseases with a high unmet medical need and collaborate with more industry partners.”
Jean Van Nuwenborg, managing partner Qbic II commented of the deal, “It’s a pleasure to be able to support MRM Health with Qbic II and partner with this impressive investor consortium.
“The size of the round speaks to the promise the project holds and to the outstanding scientific backbone of the company developed by Sam and his team and to which one of Qbic II’s partner universities contributed and will continue to do so.”